Chelsea relaunches initiative to calm traffic and support non-motorized transport
Temporary street treatments designed to slow traffic and prioritize non-motorized traffic will return to Chelsea this fall with the relaunch of an initiative called Chelsea POP.
the city of chelsea, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS), and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System teamed up to relaunch Chelsea POP, a 30-day initiative last September. Upon his return this fall, project organizers will use low-cost materials to install new street treatments along East and West Middle Streets, East Street, Washington Street and Madison Street. Like last year’s initiative, the temporary improvements are driven by security concerns.
“The project is an effort to really create more of a multimodal transportation system,” says Emily Lake, Associate Transportation Planner at WATS. “The city is very interested in slowing and calming traffic and making neighborhood streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists. “
Some of the treatments from the original pilot included improved crosswalks, cycle paths, shared road markings, striped parking, and orientation signs. Lake says a public inquiry showed strong support for the painted border extensions, which were also an integral part of the demonstration project.
“Instead of a traditional sidewalk on the streets, the city painted an area where cars were not allowed. This somewhat narrows the width of the road, which research shows can slow down traffic.” , she says.
This year, Chelsea residents can expect to see some of the same types of temporary street improvements. The city will also potentially introduce speed cushions, similar to speed bumps, but made of rubber and can be moved as needed.
As the revival heats up, the City of Chelsea and WATS will be hosting two public engagement events this summer to get feedback on treatments implemented in the first year. The results will be used to determine what permanent improvements are needed.
Lake encourages all residents to provide feedback on the pilot project by attending public events or completing an online survey. She explains that one of the challenges of transportation planning is that there must be documented accidents in an area in order to truly implement safety changes. However, she says this approach “misses all the near misses” Chelsea residents might see on a daily basis.
“This [project] will affect the streets residents live on and the roads their children cycle to school on, ”Lake says. “Once permanent changes are made it is sometimes more difficult to make adjustments, so it’s a great chance for people to really have a say in what their community will look like.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at [email protected].
Photo courtesy of WATS.